The Senate’s first big energy debate since 2007 quickly devolved into an accidental collision between Obamacare and the Keystone XL pipeline.
On one side is Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), who has halted action on a bipartisan energy-efficiency bill while demanding a vote on an unrelated Obamacare measure. On the other is Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), who wants to use the energy bill as a vehicle for a pro-Keystone amendment that he’s crafted to make as much bipartisan noise as possible.
They can’t both get what they want — unless Democratic leaders cave in to Vitter’s demands, which they showed no signs of doing. So the energy bill is in limbo.
“We’re going to get a vote if we can deal with this health care amendment,” said Hoeven’s main Democratic co-sponsor, Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu. “An Obamacare amendment on an energy bill is just really disappointing.”